Genre: Fiction | Historical Romance | Mystery
Length: 352 pages
Published: March 2020 by Pan Macmillan
Purchase: Amazon | Waterstones | Wordery | Book Depository
Jane Healey – Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Physical copy of the book is mine and all thoughts are my own. All links provided are non-affiliate.
Some secrets are unspoken. Others are unspeakable . . .
Thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the natural history museum’s collection of mammals. Once she and her exhibits arrive at Lockwood Manor, however, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty soon realizes that she’s taken on more than she’d bargained for.
Protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants is work enough, but when some of the animals go missing, and worse, Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house.
As the disasters mount, Hetty finds herself falling under the spell of Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful but clearly haunted daughter. But why is Lucy so traumatized? Does she know something she’s not telling? And is there any truth to local rumours of ghosts and curses?
Part love story, part mystery, The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey is a gripping and atmospheric tale of family madness, long-buried secrets and hidden desires.
I’m on a bit of a mystery/crime kick at the moment. Thrillers, detectives, old crimes, spooky goings on, etc, I’m all over them. What makes The Animals at Lockwood Manor slightly different though is that it plays on the tension and creepiness of the setting as well as the characters – think Daphne du Maurier, the Brontës, Laura Purcell, Bridget Collins and Jessie Burton – and it is a good, atmospheric book for the upcoming Autumn/spooky season.
Nonetheless, it will not be a book for everyone. The writing is slow, lyrical, quite literary fiction-esque in style and at first it appears as if the main mystery to the story is nowhere to be found. There are quite a few secrets to uncover about the house as well as the inhabitants (particularly Lord Lockwood and the servants) and each little snippet is given to us bit by bit as the story develops. I felt incredibly enticed by this and as the chapters are not too long, I regularly found myself in the ‘just one more chapter’ cycle of night-time reading. Also, with the dual perspective of Hetty and Lucy throughout the book, it was interesting to see how Lucy responded to everything Hetty was uncovering.
Following on from that, I enjoyed watching the connection between Hetty and Lucy develop. Both of them are similar in a variety of ways – dealing with the lack of a mother, stuck at crossroads in regards to their lives, and struggling with how they are perceived by people at the time. They play off each other and it is interesting to watch that grow, especially when their feelings for each other become apparent.
It’s a mystery that really hinges on human nature and the extent to which people will go when scorned.
Is this a book that would interest you? Let me know your thoughts and opinions.
As always thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!